I was at the library yesterday and………..

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #83203
      AUSSIEMOMAUSSIEMOM
      Participant

      I found a book titled “The Toxic Parent Survival Guide” by Bryn Collins, MA, LP. The title caught my eye and I booked it out to read at home. First, I went onto Amazon Books to see what the reviews were like and in frustration, I found twenty-two other books listed with a similar focus. Thus, I became prejudiced and annoyed before I even began reading the book. No wonder, I thought, that younger people, noted as adult children who reject their parents, can so easily ‘chuck’ their parents when so much literature is written to give the rejection of parents ‘legs’. Language and words to do so. And I began reading the book which annoyed me even further, parents were categorized, although later in the book, it was pointed out the categories were general overviews. I was soon ready to poke the author in the beak: Emotional unavailability, inconsistent parents, hovering controllers, brainiacs, glory day parents, users and other emotional vampires, mentally ill and disordered parents, addicted to…abusive parents…absent parents….toxic parents. But then as I read on I found some very useful information, for I simply replaced the adult child with me, the parent, and in that context, this book offered valuable information on relationships. It offered information on the Solver, someone who is respectful to all persons involved in a situation, is focused on the problem, not on the person, is not seeking gratification but solutions, is assertive not aggressive, has good boundaries, communicates clearly and purposefully. Noted was “you have a right to be heard and to have your feelings treated respectfully” and I thought, that is what had not happened to me at a certain point in my life as a parent, a wife, and yet, I know adult children can feel this way, too. So I related to what was written in the book in many places. What dismays me is the fact that so much is written on toxic parents, and yes, there are many family situations where children have no choice but to break away for their own emotional wellbeing but there are many here who have felt judged and negated unfairly and these types of books only reinforce behaviour in some adult children that is damaging to the parent/adult child relationship. So in summation, I’m sorry to see so much written on a very painful subject and money being made off the backs of kids who might do better to understand what they’ve done to parents and how hurtful it has been. I don’t make a point that all parent/child relationships are healthy but I do make a point here of finding so much literature on the subject of parental rejection and grandparent alienation offensive. This book is very well written and I’m sorry the focus was on the adult child leaving parents that have been so categorized in this book. Maybe kids wouldn’t have done so but words give ‘legs’ to behaviour that might otherwise be resolved in different ways than reading about it, supporting behaviour that is so hurtful towards others.
      With that, I’ll crawl back into retirement, dealing with medical issues here at home which are improving slowly,
      Aussiemom

    • #83241
      AvatarEasyStreet
      Participant

      Welcome back Aussie Mom!!!!! A couple points. My ED accused her father of being emotionally absent or unavailable has indicated. Seeked Out a therapists guidance. Hence the label plastered on his forehead “Toxic”. And it’s perfectly fine to walk away from the parents and destroy the family, Based on a one sided conversation a family is destroyed?

      Not only books, but therapists , Social Media give estrangement legs. Add to that is we are living in a throw away society, anything that doesn’t work to benefit the child, they walk. Parents, teachers, anyone in authority, does not have authority anymore. They are disrespected by our children. They are well aware who holds the balance of power . Society dictates this which In Turn renders parents powerless.

      I find it rich when an EC choose to estrange for the reason of Emotionally Absent or Unavailable when they themselves by rejecting the parent is guilty of being Emotionally Unavailable. It’s obvious our EC holds us parents to a much higher standard than they hold for themselves.

    • #83311
      AUSSIEMOMAUSSIEMOM
      Participant

      EasyStreet, I can relate to what your husband was labelled with. Years ago, 1972, my first husband died tragically and suddenly one day in June of that year. And years on, a therapist, when I was hoping to find one for both my daughter and I, had she agreed to it, to have counselling together to hopefully sort out her issues with me, said to me when I interviewed her. When your husband died you must have been an absent parent. Must have been? It took all my power to not be absent, not be wrapped up in my own grief, not succumb to the horrible fear that we would loose our home, he left us bankrupt. Absent? First of all the therapist had never met me, didn’t know me, I volunteered information, she was book-learned. Book judgement. Now, if my daughter read that or was told that by a therapist later in her life when she estranged from me, this could have been a point of consideration for her…a reason to excuse or back up her decision to estrange from me. And yes, several years later when I began a part-time job, working as much as I could from home, I taught a handicraft for nine years, three classes a week, in my home studio and I spent an enormous amount of my spare time working on visual aids with textiles. Absent, I was juggling a new step-family in my life, finding part-time employment that I could do. Could I have been judged an absent parent? It was all I could do to survive at that point in my life and survive for the sake of my children, not necessarily for myself. Had I not had children to care for and be responsible for, I don’t know if I would have made it out of the pit of despair that I was in. Would this have been brought to the attention of someone who wished to find reasons to estrange from a parent and given them a reason for doing so, I wonder.

      What is being written today is driving families asunder. It may serve a purpose now in adult children’s lives and I would again state that there are some families that need to be separated from, for reasons on alcoholism, addiction to drugs, abusive treatment of children and mental illness in a parental relationship. But those reasons aside, these books, so many of them written on the topic of divorcing toxic parents are giving kids an easy way out of not growing up and accepting responsibility for their own behaviour by blaming issues on their parents. Most parents who come here have been good solid parents, yes, we all have our shortcomings, but kids do too, but we’ve all done the best we can in the circumstances in which we found ourselves at the time of raising our kids. These books are doing society a disfavour and in the long run, ruining families lives because while breaking away from a parent once is relieving a situation for the adult child, eventually, at some point in their lives, having taken away their parental support will affect them and affect their lives. I believe that.

      I am still part of the forum, just not able to read posts given my limited time at the moment. Thank you, EasyStreet, a broken kneecap appears to be mending, my sciatica turned out to be tendonitis…still painful, we’re both peg-legging it around home these days.
      Aussiemom

    • #83355
      TheblueskyThebluesky
      Participant

      Hi Aussiemom, I’ve just checked in, a broken kneecap?

      I think of you often…..and of all of our past exchanges. I dont have much time either, working my tired tail off ..still off and on feeling the residuals of the loss of a son.

      Peace and Love and healing thoughts and vibes to you.

      Thebluesky 🌻

    • #83373
      walkingforwardwalkingforward
      Participant

      Aussie Mom,
      So glad to see your post and hear your voice. Your wisdom has meant so much to me during my most difficult times. You are a good soul and any daughter would be so lucky to have you as a mom, mentor, and friend.

    • #83377
      AUSSIEMOMAUSSIEMOM
      Participant

      Love to you, too, Blue Sky, it feels warming to me to hear from you. I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received here on Sheri’s website from people who have experienced an estrangement from their child and who understand how it feels. Whether our circumstances are different, which most are, the one common factor and bond is the terrible feelings and experience we’ve all been through and many here are going through. Himself has the broken kneecap, I harmed myself sitting in a computer chair that hurt my leg and knee. Both are slowly healing but we feel like a pair of old crocks! right now.
      Aussiemom

    • #83400
      AUSSIEMOMAUSSIEMOM
      Participant

      Thank You Walking Forward, what can I say other than I’m so very grateful to be connected to you all here, I wish that this website had been available to me when I was going through the worst of the estrangement with my daughter. It wasn’t and I walked alone, with the perspectives of my husband and son, which were silently open to understanding, at least. I did not want either involved in what I was going through, I did not want my daughter vilified in other’s eyes and nor has she been. My family’s perspectives are their own, not influenced by mine or the emotional pain I’ve been through. Books such as the one I’ve just read and returned to my library in town do both good and bad. The comments in regard to how to communicate with parents, I reversed and considered me, speaking to my daughter, were instructive. But on the whole, books with a focus like that are really giving approval to what is negatively happening to families today. When my daughter made her decision to stop seeing me, thus, my family, for my son for his own reasons stood his own ground in this, I didn’t feel she was mature enough to see the long road ahead and was looking at the short -term benefits of cutting me out of her life. And her children’s lives. Years later, circumstances in her life have changed and as much as I find it painful to know how these changes are impacting on her life, I’m at an age where just managing to cope with my own health, my own life, is about all I can do. I had every intention of living my life beyond the age of eighty as I had before I turned eighty. It seemed that the Universe or whoever is in charge of us aging bodies, had other ideas. I’ve had too much emotional pain in my life. I’m tired and I’ve had enough. If one of my children is open to estranging with me, that’s their decision. But decisions have consequences. For all of us.
      This website has healed me in such a way as nothing else could or did. It was in sharing with others, in hearing others ‘stories’ and how they handled this issue of estrangement, through the encouragement of others, I began to heal. I’m grateful I’ve been able to support others in this.
      Thank you all. And I wish books like this were not so prolific on the market.
      Aussiemom

    • #83417
      courageousmecourageousme
      Participant

      I, too, understand that some parents are truly “toxic”. I’m sure those people have healing to do. Quite frankly, I believe my DIL is one of those people!

      However, I do not believe that estrangement is the answer – for anyone. Years and years ago, I was struggling with my relationship with my own mother. I was going through a very stressful time (largely caused by my now ES!) and I wanted to “take some space” from my mother. I didn’t feel it needed to be permanent – and I did NOT consider her toxic. I owned my feelings, knew that I just needed a break from her influence to make some very difficult decisions. My therapist discouraged it. He is a wonderful therapist, so he didn’t strongly discourage it. He left me to make the decision – but it was clear that he did not believe that estrangement in any form was healthy or growth-enhancing for anyone.

      Establish boundaries – yes. Enforce those boundaries – absolutely. Look inside and figure out what triggers you – yes. Learn how to manage those triggers – yes. Change long-held patterns of behavior – yes. Understand and accept that the only behavior you can control is your own – absolutely. Cut a member of your family out completely – no. We’re not even talking about the hurt that imposes on the parent. We’re talking about the health of the person responsible for the estrangement.

      I am not talking here about an estrangement that results from boundaries and boundary infringements/enforcements. In my mind, that is a very different situation. I’m talking about a deliberate and hurtful shutting out of a member of your family – full of blame and recrimination. I firmly believe that is not helpful for anyone – and therapists who are suggesting it need to have their licenses revoked! I agree with what others have said re therapists making this recommendation when they barely know the person/people.

      I sincerely hope that my ES is able to grow from this experience. I want him to be happy and mature. But, I’m not holding my breath that is going to happen! Personally, I think estrangement is just kicking the can. As others have said – it allows the EC to continue to not take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings – most significantly for their pain.

    • #83440
      AUSSIEMOMAUSSIEMOM
      Participant

      I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said, CourageousMe. I’ve written a review of the book on Amazon.com. We’ll see if they process it and post it on the site. Setting boundaries, explaining yourself, “I’m not handling” this or that right now, you’re taking responsibility for your feelings and what you can or can’t cope with. But to wipe out years of parental love, care, concern, no. I’m glad you posted this CourageousMe. it takes courage to face issues that are causing you discomfort. I haven’t done that myself at a certain point in my life. Until one day I did. And the family, step-family, my daughter turned on me. So much for that.
      Aussiemom

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.